Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said that members of Hamas should surrender and said it’s the “beginning of the end” for the designated terrorist organization.
“In recent days, dozens of Hamas terrorists have been surrendering to our forces,” Mr. Netanyahu said in a televised address, according to a translation. “They are laying down their weapons and handing themselves over to our heroic fighters.”
“It will take more time, the war is in full swing, but this is the beginning of the end for Hamas,” he continued. “I say to the Hamas terrorists: it is over. Don’t die for [Hamas leader Yahya] Sinwar. Surrender now.”
His comments Sunday come after Israeli Defense Forces tanks reached the key Gaza area of Khan Younis, residents told the Reuters newswire service. Residents said tanks had reached the main north-south road through the middle of Khan Younis after intense combat through the night that had slowed the Israeli advance from the east. Warplanes were pounding the area west of the assault.
Israel vowed to annihilate Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, after terrorists burst across the fence on Oct. 7 and went on a rampage through Israeli towns, gunning down families in their homes, killing 1,200 people and seizing 240 hostages.
Security Council VoteOn Dec. 8, the United States moved to block a U.N. Security Council resolution that demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, which both the U.S. and Israel have opposed. France and Japan, which are members of the Security Council, had backed the motion for a ceasefire.
U.S. Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood described the resolution as “imbalanced” and criticized the council because it failed to condemn Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attack. The official also said that stopping Israel’s military action would allow Hamas to rule Gaza and carry out more attacks.
US CommentsOn Saturday and Sunday, several top U.S. officials made public comments about the alleged evidence of sexual violence committed by Hamas terrorists during the Oct. 7 attacks.
During a CNN appearance on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “The atrocities that we saw on Oct. 7 are almost beyond human description or beyond our capacity to digest. And we’ve talked about them before. But the sexual violence that we saw on Oct. 7 is beyond anything that I’ve seen either.”
Escalation?Fighting between Israel and the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement in Lebanon, triggered by the Gaza conflict, intensified on Sunday. At an international conference in Doha, the capital of Qatar, which acted as the main mediator for a week-long truce that saw more than 100 hostages freed, Arab foreign ministers panned the Biden administration for vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution on Friday that demanded a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.
Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said the war risked radicalizing a generation across the Middle East. Jordan’s foreign minister said the Israeli campaign aimed to drive Palestinians from Gaza and met the legal definition of genocide, accusations Israel called outrageous.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who called for Article 99 to initiate the Security Council process, has recently said he would “not give up” appealing for a ceasefire.
“I urged the Security Council to press to avert a humanitarian catastrophe, and I reiterated my appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire to be declared,” Mr. Guterres said. “Regrettably, the Security Council failed to do it, but that does not make it less necessary.”
Aside from the Security Council, the U.N.’s World Health Organization’s board passed an emergency WHO motion by consensus to secure more medical access in Gaza. The emergency action—proposed by Afghanistan, Qatar, Yemen, and Morocco—seeks passage into Gaza for medical personnel and supplies, requires the WHO to document violence against healthcare workers and patients and to secure funding to rebuild hospitals.